I’ve had this discussion with several people recently and the topic just keeps coming back. Will there be a great worldwide revival as so many teach today? If not, will there be a falling away of believers as we near the return of Christ? I also know some people that say that both will happen. So which is it?
First, I want to say right off the bat that I do not believe in a great worldwide revival as many teach it today. Does that mean I’m against revival? Of course not. I just don’t see it in scripture the way it is taught. I’m concerned that we have had a blending of teachings about the End Times and in many cases we have not taken the time to sort them out. I can hardly turn on the tv to a Christian channel and not hear about the great revival that is about to break forth. It sounds good. Who wouldn’t want the world to accept Christ? The problem is that the Bible paints a very different picture.
Those who teach that there will be a great worldwide revival in the last days have a very different Eschatological (End Times) view than I do. Many of them are Preterist (believing that Revelation and other prophecies have already been fulfilled). Many of them are also Postmillenial in their teachings as well. This means that we are in the Millenium right now. They teach that we have a mandate to take the nations for Jesus so that He can come back. They envision a world that gets better and better as the world becomes Christianized and once the church has finally matured to a certain point THEN Christ can return. The frustrating thing about this is that very few actually admit that they are Preterist or Post Millenial. Many, but not all, of the leaders in the charismatic world hold to this teaching. There are many also who are not Charismatic that follow it as well.
It would take me a very long time to address this topic in depth, but today I just want to give you what I believe is the scriptural perspective on this subject. I’m not a defeatist. I don’t think that because the world is going to get worse and worse that we should sit idly by and say “there isn’t anything we can do about it so let’s just hide.” I don’t consider myself to be a doom and gloom guy. I believe in mission work and spreading the gospel. I teach that we should set the captives free and do all we can for the Kingdom, living in light of the return of Christ. While worldwide revival sounds nice, I just can’t line up the Word with it. Here are just a few verses that point me in a different direction.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the Day of the Lord and our being gathered to Him/rapture) will not come unless the apostacy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” This verse says that there will be a time where many will fall away from the faith before Christ returns.
- Matthew 24:10-12 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” Jesus made it very clear that the opposite of revival will be the norm.
- Revelation 13:3 “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the WHOLE earth was amazed and followed after the beast.”
- Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power”
- 2 Peter 3:3-4 ”Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?”
- 1 Timothy 4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons..”
- Revelation 13:7 “It was also given to him (Antichrist) to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over EVERY tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.”
I personally, can’t reconcile these verses with a great world wide revival that many teach today. Now at the same time I do believe that in the midst of persecution and difficult times that the church will do remarkable things. I don’t have a “Sky is falling” mentality. In fact I would consider it a great honor to live and proclaim the name of Jesus in the midst of all the evil going on around me.
One last note is that when Jesus commissioned us to “make disciples of all nations”, He was not telling us to rule them or that we would convert the nations. The Greek word for nations, as used here, is ethnos which means a group of people. It is talking about individuals not geographical countries. There are a lot of good things going on throughout the world and I certainly do not want to diminish that. Missionaries are sacrificing their lives to share the gospel. The church is overcoming some already difficult times. Persecution in China has caused a great growth among the Body of Christ there. I see much the same type of revival taking place during the 70th Week of Daniel as the church is made spotless. I do not, however, see Christians taking over the world so that Jesus can then return.
My warning today is to be careful not to mix and blend teachings on the End Times. Know what you believe. If you don’t know what you believe you will likely be tossed to and fro and may end up with a cafeteria style Eschatology. You will have a little bit of everything. I pray that truth will come forth in our churches and in our lives. Any thoughts, comments or disagreements (in love) are welcome. Be blessed.